“Reflecting the prejudices in our culture, both introverts and extroverts chose extrovert as their ideal self and their ideal leader.” (Marti Olsen Laney, The Introvert Advantage)
I’ll never forget how blindsided I felt when an introvert told me his strong opinion about something I was doing. I was young. I underestimated introverts.
I assumed he didn’t have an opinion because he hadn’t shared one. I was shocked to hear the truth.
Quiet isn’t weak.
During conversations, ask introverts, “What’s coming to mind for you?” This question frees an introvert from giving their final thoughts and leaves space for them to change their opinion. An alternative…
What’s on your mind regarding…?
The following list from Inc illustrates that some introverts lead businesses, speak publicly, hold political office, and have brilliant minds.
- Bill Gates.
- Albert Einstein. Einstein said, “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”
- Abraham Lincoln.
- Warren Buffet.
- Michael Jordan.
- Meryl Streep.
- Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor gave 348 press conferences as First Lady and averaged 150 speaking engagements a year throughout the 1950’s.
Let go the stereotypical idea that introverts are backwards.
Elizabeth Bernstein wrote a convincing article in the WSJ, “Why Introverts Make Great Entrepreneurs.”
My friend’s married introverted daughter wants a day alone in a hotel for her birthday.
An extrovert might find it difficult to understand an introvert’s need to re-energize with quiet and solitude.
Introverts might need to get out more. Extroverts, on the other hand, might need to embrace solitude more frequently.
- Greet people. Say goodbye at the end of the day.
- You may know more than you think you know.
- Give approval to others. Say thank you more.
Nothing’s wrong with introverts. If everyone’s the same, diversity is meaningless.
What helps introverted leaders succeed in an extroverted world?